The impending release of Tomb Raider has got me thinking about reboots in general, as this will be Lara’s second franchise reboot (Tomb Raider Legend was designed to reboot the franchise) I wonder if this one will stick.
Hollywood seems to love a reboot, it seems films have just ended then suddenly there is another reboot, whether it be franchise or character.
I don’t necessarily see them as a bad thing but they tend not to work for one huge reason, Hollywood is too afraid to take the necssisary risks associated with a reboot. You have to make the characters everyone knows and loves and you have to add to them, this is a gargantuan task for anyone and puts them under serious pressure.
How do you think J.J. Abrams felt when rebooting Star Trek? He had to take a well-worn franchise, make it fresh but also somehow familiar.
So this is the problem that developers face when deciding a franchise needs a spring clean. Sometimes a reboot would be better than just never ending sequels and this is what Crystal Dynamics have done.
If you have seen anything from the upcoming Tomb Raider game you will know that it is a call back to Lara’s roots, how she became the woman she would become and what lead her to it. It is unclear if any of the other games are canon in this universe but I think we can assume not. Whereas this game is based in sort of reality the other games go off on supernatural tangents, including possession and T-Rex fights (which was cool). This new version of Lara is unsure of herself and in desperate need of the skills she will develop. The thing is what is the point? Could they not have just created another sequel I mean they had done it before.
Tomb Raider Legends was a strange game, I for one enjoyed it a lot but it moved away from the Tomb Raider we had come to know for so many years and made it into more of an action game, there was some hate and some love towards this but at the end of the day it was the same old Lara thrown in with some quick time events and more shooting.
When Tomb Raider disappeared the Uncharted series appeared and made a storm, here was a charming, funny and cool central character, one who does everything Lara does but so much better and based slightly more in the less fantastic. It seemed Lara’s days were numbered, no one cared anymore, and Nathan Drake had taken her spot.
Fast forward to today, a couple of days away from the release of Tomb Raider and I’m not thinking it will beat Uncharted to the ground, but I am interested to see where they are going. To handle a Lara unsure of her skill, to learn everything from the start, this has peaked my interest.
The thing is Lara was in my life a long time before Nathan came along, for god sake man she was the poster girl for the PS1, she adorned the walls of many a teenage gamer boy and she gave out a strong role model for women everywhere.
My point is this reboot is not a bad thing, it can maybe make us forget about the Tomb Raider stinkers and give us something new to begin looking forward to.
Here’s the question though, if this is successful then what next?
DMC was a reboot of the Devil May Cry series and a damn good one, it got great reviews and I can see the franchise moving ahead from here.
Who else could do with some refreshment in their stale beer?
Silent Hill for one, the latest game Downpour was by no means a bad game but the design was awful, it was glitch central and it should never have been in that developers hands in the first place.
The first two Silent Hill games genuinely scared me, especially the second one. Since then nothing has scared me in the Silent Hill series, it has went from a stale pint to a stale loaf in the last few years.
With games like Slender: The Eight Pages scaring people out of their skin Silent Hill could do with taking a leaf from their book (or a page, but don’t do that or ole slendy will get you).
Fear is so simple and the bad camera angles and things you didn’t see were what were the scariest thing in the Silent Hill series, this is something they need to bring back.
Resident Evil is another game that went from survival horror to action epic, alabit without the epic. Number 4 was the last good game and that’s because it kept the general feeling of Resident Evil but did amp up the action, now Capcom have amped the action so much they seem to forget that the best thing about Resident Evil was hearing shuffling in the background, things smashing through windows and sometimes insurmountable odds.
The list is not exhaustive, I could go on all day but it begs the question, are some franchises in gaming becoming boring, is the next Assassins Creed going to be a repeat of the last 5 games? Or will developers see the potential in Tomb Raider and DMC’s reboot?
Mind you I’m saying that and there’s a good chance Tomb Raider will be awful, but I’m happy to wait and see.